Friday, June 28, 2013


a day's worth of JuiceBox juice
breakfast, lunch, and dinner, baby
I can't believe I'm talking about this. But I've always been one to overshare...
A while back my pal Reba asked me if I was interested in doing a juice cleanse. I laughed. I had done a ridiculous 10-day "cleanse" (a.k.a. FAST) 10 years ago, which I weirdly enjoyed, but largely because I liked the weird feeling of control and power over my body. (I've been told that's one of the things that makes eating disorders "popular" -- young people who feel powerless gain a type of power.)
Anyway, I really wasn't into it. The one Reba wanted to do was through JuiceBox Seattle -- and, well, it was a bit spendy. And I'm a bit tight. How spendy? $60/day for three days.
But I read more about it -- about the organic fruits and vegetables, the cold-pressed raw juices -- and, well, decided to give it a try. Wil -- also vaguely interested -- decided to do it with us, which made things much, much easier for me.
The first challenge -- find three days on which to do the cleanse. I didn't want to do it right before a half marathon (duh), I didn't want to do it over a weekend, and Reba needed to find a quiet time in her schedule. In the end, we settled on Tuesday - Thursday, June 25-27.
juice from JuiceBox Seattle
that's a lot of juice!
We ordered up the juice, arranged to have it delivered to the Pantry at Delancey (just up the street), and then I promptly put it out of my mind.
At some point during the half marathon on Saturday, I suddenly remembered that we were doing a juice cleanse starting in a couple of days. Oof. Yeah, I put it back out of my mind. I wanted to enjoy my post-race mimosa! Besides, we were going over to Alan & Don's for dinner on Saturday afternoon, so I knew there would be tons of tasty food. (And I might have eaten my weight in spinach dip. With Fritos. Heck, did I mention I had just run a half marathon?!?)
I also ignored the little thought at the back of my mind on Sunday, when Wil and I sat in the garden on our sweet new cushions, enjoying a fresquourbon or two. Possibly three. Until then I remembered -- and decided that, apparently, we were in our "pre-tox".
Monday we ate pretty cleanly -- and there was no booze, other than a half glass of cider each. We had to make room in the fridge, you see, for all of the JUICE.
Sunny's juice in the fridge
Sunny's juice in the fridge
Here follows a typed up version of my notes from the three days:
DAY ONE, BOTTLE ONE: Okay, here goes. I vaguely remembered that I'm supposed to start with a green juice, so I started with the kale, romaine, apple, cucumber, spinach, celery, lemon one. And realized that, well, it's hard to drink 16 ounces of juice quickly. It tastes exactly like drinking a salad would taste -- I can even almost taste a ranch dressing flavor, though clearly I'm making that up. It's an odd flavor, but not unpleasant. I end up chugging it so I can leave for work. That feels slightly unpleasant. After all, it's 2.5 pounds of vegetables. I pack up three other flavors that seem tasty and head to work, picking up four liters of fizzy water on the way.
DAY ONE, LUNCHTIME: Partway through the morning I had the cucumber lemon water (which was supposed to be aloe vera water, but was substituted unexpectedly -- and, to be honest, a little to my relief). Then for lunch I decided to have the apple, lemon, extra ginger -- SO GOOD. It's one of the nicest juices I've ever had. I would drink this any time. For reals. I have confessed to Carrie what I'm doing, but trying to keep it mum around my other workmates. Why Carrie? Because I knew she'd think it was interesting.
DAY ONE, AFTERNOON: HUNGRY. OMG HUNGRY. I sip the fennel, apple, cucumber, mint juice and think of crunchy food. Can't wait to go home. Have also recently discovered that we are "allowed" tea. And that there's a recommended order for the juices. Reba has also not known this until now. We both decide to do the cleanse in the "right order" tomorrow.
DAY ONE, BEDTIME: The carrot, orange, turmeric root is weirdly filling. So I have to almost force myself to finish the almond milk, honey, cacao nib, and mint bottle. After 3 liters of water and 96 ounces of juice, I feel bloated. I also "broke down" and ate about 1/4 of a cucumber. I needed crunch.
DAY TWO: I weighed myself yesterday at the start of the cleanse, and again this morning. Down 2.2 pounds, which seems extreme, but I also figured I was pretty "heavy" yesterday. I start with some water (though not the recommended hot water with lemon), and then open up a bottle of fennel, apple, cucumber, and mint, trying to sip it while I'm getting ready, so I don't have to chug it. This juice is surprisingly pleasant; I often don't like fennel (or anything with a licorice taste), but it tastes really fresh and light.
DAY TWO, BOTTLE TWO: The carrot, orange, turmeric root is "snack #1". I didn't know that I would like the carrot juice, but it's lovely and sweet and makes me feel a little buzzy. That said, it might just be the lack of food. My work buddy keeps offering me treats. Sigh.
DAY TWO, LUNCH: The almond milk, honey, cacao nib, and mint is the "heartiest" of the juices, and is recommended for lunch. It's also the only one with protein, which I have found myself craving. I'm not really hungry anymore, though I do miss having something to chew. Chewing is awesome. Bring back chewing.
DAY TWO, BOTTLE FOUR: Cucumber water. Which seems like a copout and a disappointment. I paid TEN DOLLARS for this bottle of water? Sigh.
DAY TWO, WALKING HOME: I've got weird cramps in my calves walking up the hill. Am I getting enough electrolytes? Good thing I'm not running.
DAY TWO, BEDTIME: The kale, romaine, etc. juice is more pleasant when not chugged. There's something about "chewing your juice" -- swishing it around in your mouth and drinking it with plenty of water -- and, yeah, I feel pretty satisfied. And ending the day with the delicious apple / ginger -- well, it feels like a real dessert. And I've earned it.
DAY THREE: Today may be a bit weird -- I'm working at a photo shoot all day, so I'll be on my feet and working with relative strangers. But I figure that the girls in the studio will be interested and totally supportive. Right? I don't finish my juice in time, however, and have to keep drinking it in the car. I also pick up three more liters of fizzy water to get me through the day. I weigh myself this morning and am down an additional 3.6 pounds. That's just stupid. It can't be healthy.
DAY THREE, BOTTLE TWO: I feel really self conscious swigging bright orange juice while the others are working. I try to be low-key about it. Why does this feel so weird? No hunger. Just feeling tired.
DAY THREE, LUNCH: First I try to delay going to the kitchen -- I'm making first-round selects, after all -- but then worry that they'll all be waiting for me if I don't show up. (They were.) So I grab my almond milk and sit down, telling them I have a confession. Everyone is Very Interested. They love it. They want to know all about it. Even the men. Most of them have a story about when they did a cleanse. Interesting.
DAY THREE, AFTERNOON: I'm tired. Really tired. Did I mention how nice their lunches looked. So. Tired. I keep thinking about bourbon. And things that are crunchy. I drink the unsatisfactory cucumber lemon water, worrying a little that I am drinking the bottle too early.
DAY THREE, DINNER: Fennel. It's okay. Wil packs lovely lunches for Friday. I cannot believe how excited I am to eat a salad for lunch on Friday.
DAY THREE, BEDTIME: I'm happy to have finished this. It will take willpower not to get up in the night and eat something -- anything. Actually, it won't be that hard. I'm not hungry at all, just bored. Which I know fuels a lot of eating. Reba sent a text: "I have consumed the final juice! Now what? Bed? Enlightenment?"
It's now the day after the cleanse. I weighed myself and was down another .7 pounds -- 6.6 pounds overall. Wil is down a whopping 7.1. Weird. Do I feel... different? Not really. I guess that -- well, other than the junk carbs -- I eat pretty cleanly most of the time. I don't feel very strong, or extra clean. I do feel weirdly dehydrated today. I kept having to get up in the night to go to the bathroom. But I guess I did drink a lot of extra water in the studio yesterday.
Was it interesting? Yeah, as an experiment in willpower if nothing else. We've even started talking about getting our own juicer and drinking more juice.
In reading more about the cleanse, it's not recommended for people who are lean (well, not really me) or athletic (me). I have definitely had lower energy than usual, and I'm really glad I don't have a long run this weekend. But maybe juice for breakfasts? Or juice one day a week? Who knows.
Have you ever done a juice cleanse? How did it make you feel?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon race report

I LOVE THIS RACE. There, I've said it. I love it. I love everything about it. Sure, I'm now blasé about the start of races -- where I used to love the nervous excitement of the corrals, I'm now mainly bored and just want to get going. But, boy, I love Rock 'n' Roll Seattle!
It started with the excellent marketing to the 5-year legacy runners. Yeah, I'm one of 'em. Here's proof.
Rock 'n' Roll Seattle legacy running banner
Yep, that's me.
Seattle Rock 'n' Roll legacy runners
And I even love working the expo -- it's fun to talk to runners, from "yeah, I run a lot of races" to "it's my first time!", and to share stories about training and strategies for race day with complete strangers. I worked the Friday day shift in the Brooks Cavalcade of Curiosities -- the last ever stop on the Cavalcade tour -- in the "ticket booth" where I handed out our scan 'n win cards, explained the contests, cheered for the show, and was generally Very Perky, nonstop, between 10am and 3pm.
John stopped by at one point to give me a pair of VIP wristbands (sweet!), and I promised, in return, to give a good post-race interview. :)
Time passed pretty quickly -- and suddenly it was 2:30 and Suz had arrived. She went off to have her gait analyzed and to look around the expo while I "trained" my afternoon replacement. Sweet!
Then at 3, I was free! I picked up my sweet legacy bib... green, rather than the standard blue (half) or yellow (full). I also picked up my "5 year runner" shirt -- kinda funny, because it wasn't a "5 year finisher" shirt. But I guess they can't give that to you before the race even starts!
I then bought my obligatory pint glass and pin (yes, every race...), and then Suz and I headed out to the expo. I was a little scattered -- I knew I had things I needed to do, but hadn't really thought them through. I did want to register for next year (always a good deal at the expo, and, yes, of course I'm running in 2014!). I also wanted to pick up the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle 2013 charm (though finding the booth proved challenging!). And other than that... just wander around.
It feels like the Rock 'n' Roll Expo is actually getting bigger and better -- there is very little of the "random booth full of crap" sort of booth you see at a lot of races. I'm guessing that booth fees are really high at RnRs, but it still does keep the quality up! Suz said it was "kindof overwhelming" -- which is exactly why I wanted her to come down and see it. :) Well, that and to try a bunch of different nutrition and hydration options.
After the expo Suz and I both rode the bus uptown, where I met up with Wil for a pre-race Manhattan at the Whiskey Bar. Ahhhh. Alcohol is full of carbs, right?
On race morning we got up on the early side, as usual, knowing that we would have the VIP area to relax in. We drove to the west side of lower Queen Anne, parked in about 45 seconds (lucky!), and then wandered over to the center.
Space Needle
I LOVE that the race now starts and ends at the Seattle Center. It's the perfect place to stage the event -- plenty of bathrooms, green space, covered areas, and even a Starbucks. We were there really early -- it wasn't quite 6am for a 7am start -- so we got into the pen, had a coffee (Wil) and an orange juice (Sunny), and just sat down. The morning was beautiful -- a slight chill, but nothing much if you were in the sun. And you could tell the day was going to be perfect.
Wil before Rock 'n' Roll Seattle
Wil gets his VIP race face on before the race
Still, we got a little restless, so we headed out for a little while to walk through the Armory. We made a pitstop there, where I ran into my colleague Ryan, who was about to run his first half marathon. I tried to be extra chipper -- I remember how scared I was when I ran my first! -- but he seemed like he was going to be okay.
VIP flowers -- yes, those are records
We then decided to head back to the VIP area to sit and relax a bit more. At 6:45, the elites were called assembled to head over to the start line. Coincidentally, WE had just got up to head over. So there was this weird little, "um, no, not us... sorry" moment. Well, okay, no one had that thought but us, but it WAS funny.
We made our way over to the Brooks VIP Porta Potty -- again, so fabulous! -- and chatted with the crew for a few minutes. Then it was time to make our way into the corrals. There was the usual crush, but we just settled in and entered when the corral moved forward. Somehow we ended up right in front of Jess and right behind Tineke. And then, especially oddly, the race just sorta started. I mean, yes, there was a little of the "corral shuffles forward"... but then, waaaaay before the start line, we started running. Wil said, "Um, are we starting?" And we broke into a run.
obligatory pre-race photo, with needle
The course had shifted a little -- we started right in front of EMP, and then ran under the Monorail all the way down 5th Avenue to the International District, around the corner on Dearborn and over to Rainier Avenue. I was mentally preparing for THE HILL... but it never came. We ran down Genessee... including an odd little half block out and back ... and then along 43rd to the lake. NO HILL!!! Somewhere just before the lake we! saw the Dude, straddling the course proudly. Lovely, as always, to see him
Brooks rocker dude
hello Seattle!
Another thing -- the front half of the course was packed with bands. Every half mile or so. My favorite band was ... hmmm ... I can't figure out what band it was. But while we were in earshot, they played a Time cover (The Bird!) AND then went into a James Brown cover. Sweet!
Then we ran along the lake -- ahhh, pretty -- and past the long line of "wear blue to remember" folks.... each holding a flag and celebrating a fallen soldier. Which always makes me feel a bit weepy.
We headed up the horrid little hill to I-90, behind a grumpy man shouting WALKERS TO THE RIGHT (actually, fair.) Of course, in my mind, that hill happens at, oh, mile 9. But it's only mile 7.5. But the tunnel was cooler than some years -- at least, I didn't feel faint. And hooray for DJ Vodka Twist, spinning very cool music that perked me up for the looooooooooong ramp into downtown.
Not much to say about the ramp -- other than I am constantly surprised by how long it is. We hit the 10-mile marker right at the end of the ramp, and I said, "Only a 5K left!" and a couple of girls whooped.
view of downtown Seattle from the I-90 ramp
the Space Needle is still REALLY FAR away
The stretch up to (and then down, and then back up) on to the Viaduct was pretty non-eventful. I was just looking forward to running on the Viaduct -- quite possibly my favorite part of any race. I mean, I love love love the Viaduct. And I love running in the built environment, in places where one can't normally walk or run. Combine that with the gorgeous view and the perfect day, well, it was heaven.
Team Wil-Sun on the Viaduct
Then into the dingy tunnel, which makes me want to do "clean graffiti" like others have done (where they wash bits of the wall to create words, rather than apply paint). Not sure how exactly one would do that without risking their life, though...
Out of the tunnel, around the little corner, and then into that last, annoying little down and up to the finish. I was running past a woman who was complaining about "all the hills". What hills? There were very, very few inclines in this new course. I'm guessing she was a flatlander. :)
We started sprinting as we entered the finishing chute, shouting "God save the queen!" at the mile 13 marker and getting very strange looks in return. We saw John about 15 yards from the finish, waved, heard him say to stop, and I shouted, "We have to finish!" We crossed the line in 2:27:37, had a smooch, and tried to stand out of the way a little while John made his way to us.
Team Wil-Sun with John "the Penguin" Bingham
post-race interview...check!
In our "post-race interview", we chatted about the race, the fantastic course updates, the great bands, and of course the great weather. I was pretty endorphined out -- plus I do LOVE THIS RACE. John also pointed out the Brooks plane circling overhead with the giant Run Happy banner. Perfect.
After a few minutes we grabbed a quick photo, made our way through the finish gauntlet (medal, Gatorade, chocolate milk, smoothie), and then went to pick up our super sweet extra medal: the Pacific Peaks medal!!!
Ahhh, lovely to clank again. :)
Then up to the VIP area, where we saw lots of Brooks colleagues, had a breakfast burrito and a couple of mimosas, and just enjoyed the morning. The headliner, Hot Chelle Rae, started playing songs that sounded pleasantly familiar without my ever having heard them. Ah, pop music. The singer said, "This is pretty much the only concert where you have the perfect excuse for sitting down." Cute. After about half an hour we said our goodbyes, walked to the car, and went home.

Overall, another great race. Favorite random memories: Seafair princesses -- all wearing tiaras -- handing out water at a water stop; two Elvii chatting at a course split point; the elite bike support crew barking at wayward pedestrians; multiple "your mom" signs; multiple "zombie" signs; high-fiving cheerleaders; surprisingly few tutus; VIP "restrooms" (just porta potties, folks -- not even the fancy kind ;)).
Oh, and of course, some great new bling:
2013 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon medal
2013 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon medal

The bonus medal:
2013 Pacific Peaks medal
2013 Pacific Peaks medal
And -- I love this -- here's my Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon medal collection:
Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon medals
collect the entire set!
You know we're already signed up for 2014. Who's with us???

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Project Repat, or what I did with the box of race shirts in the basement...

Like a lot of runners, I have accumulated a lot of race shirts over the years. Some are very special, like my NYC Marathon shirt, my Goofy Challenge shirts, and even some of my Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon shirts. But others... well... they were too dear to me to throw away, but too numerous (or, in some cases, colorful...) to wear. So I would periodically clear out my "running stuff" drawer and retire a bunch of shirts to the basement.
I'm crafty, so I always had this idea that I would make a t-shirt quilt. You know, just cut 12.5x12.5" squares out of each of the shirts, sew them together, and then quilt them. Nothing fancy, just a nice big throw. But like many of my other would-be craft projects, real life got in the way. I even sent so far as to cut squares out of a handful of shirts... but did nothing more than that.
Then a couple of months ago Groupon offered a "$130 donation to Project Repat" for $65. In exchange for the $65, Project Repat would make a 5" x 6" (essentially exactly the size of a queen-sized mattress with no overlap) quilt if I sent them at 30 shirts. Perfect!!!
Somehow, even digging out the piles of old shirts -- and deciding which ones to "sacrifice" to the quilt -- took a long time. But a few weeks ago I sat down on a rainy afternoon and sifted through the boxes. I'm ashamed to say it was VERY EASY to come up with 30 shirts. Even the act of going through the boxes -- looking at all of the shirts, remembering all of the races -- was great. I also took the opportunity to GET RID of a bunch of shirts -- duplicate, mostly, when Wil and I both ran -- and made up a big box of shirts for Goodwill. So satisfying!!!
I went to the website, picked out my backing fleece (black, of course, though navy is also available), and got out my scissors. I cut the fronts off the backs (to lighten the weight of the package -- though I could have sent them all of the shirts), packed them up, and then waited. I could have paid extra to have the shirts arranged in a particular order or pattern, but the designers at Project Repat will use their best judgement in laying things out. After all, these shirts were just sitting in boxes in the basement; so anything would be better!
A few days later I received a note saying that they had received my shirts, and that if I had any questions I could call them. And then, a couple of weeks after that, I received a note saying my blanket had been shipped. I wasn't in any sort of hurry (BASEMENT!), but was surprised at how quickly they completed the process.
Then today I came home to find a big package on my doorstep:
Project Repat upcycled t-shirt quilt arrives!
it's here!
The package was pretty heavy, but I guess a 5'x6' fleece blanket is pretty heavy! I opened it up and found this:
my blanket from Project Repat
so big I couldn't get all of it in the frame!
Wow!!! It's so great!!! Now, is it the finest example of the quiltmaker's art? No. It's just 30 t-shirts trimmed square, sewn together, and then backed with fleece. It's not actually quilted, per se -- the top and bottom layers are only joined at the outer edges. But the weight of the shirts and the clinginess of the fleece make them feel as if they are joined. The corners of the top are well matched, the stitching is even, and the way they laid out the colors is really pleasant. I am absolutely thrilled by my new blanket.
Wil -- who I think may have been a bit dubious at the idea of this -- was also really impressed... and we both started thinking that maybe we could surrender a few more shirts -- even the "precious" ones -- and make another, larger quilt one day.
Best of all, however, is that Project Repat is here in the US, and provides fair-wage jobs to textile workers. They work with NuPath, Inc., which trains and employs people with disabilities. And as Project Repat has grown, they have brought in an additional production partner: 99 Degrees Custom, and are helping them get their business off the ground. You can learn more about Project Repat -- or order your own t-shirt quilt -- at
Kiki sleeping on the Project Repat t-shirt quilt
Kiki approved
This post is my contribution to this week's Running Bloggers Fitness Friday Linkup -- because every runner has a box of race shirts in their basement!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Great marketing: Competitor Group's "five year runner" campaign

The 2013 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon is in ten days. I ran the first one back in 2009, and have run every one since. I like to think of it as my summer race.

Way back in February I received an email about the "Five Years Running" campaign they were putting together that included this sentence: "You ran, rocked and conquered Rock 'n' Roll Seattle a whopping 4 times! As you prepare for another encore performance, why not stand in the spotlight?"

I wondered if I had been segmented out as someone who had, indeed, run for four years -- or if it was just a generic way to say the race was going to have its fifth running. So I forwarded the note to my contact at the Competitor Group who confirmed that other runners got a different email -- that, yes, this one was special for ME. 

When I ran Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio last year -- in the race's 5th year -- I noticed some runners with special bibs and I thought how cool that was. I mean, I love it when a race organizer recognizes their repeat runners! Disney is awesome about this -- the "Perfectly Goofy" runners, the "Sweet Sixteen Marathoners", etc. 

Even the Park to Park Half Marathon, in Waynesboro, Virginia, did a great job of this -- their 5 year runners got a special yellow shirt with a great big 5 on it -- and it was pretty awesome to see the handful of them in the race. 

So, yeah, I was thrilled to get this email the other day:

Wow -- one of 648 runners "about to rock for the fifth straight year" ?!?! That's awesome. They developed a special email campaign for 648 runners.  Even better? In addition to a special bib, I'm going to get a bonus shirt:

Now, I know that this doesn't cost Competitor Group all that much, really. But I'm still absurdly thrilled by it. And you can bet that I'll stop by the 5 Year Runner banner to take a picture when I'm at the expo next week. 

You know what else? I'm pretty much committed to running this race every year now -- as long as I can keep moving. 

BTW, I forwarded the email to my pal at CGI again, semi-squealing as I typed. Yeah, I'm really impressed and touched by this. It has made me think of ways we can reward our repeat buyers on our site. 

I guess I should add that, despite working for Brooks, I've always paid my own way at Rock 'n' Roll Seattle. I did get free entries to Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras back in 2010 (as part of a prize I won at a company holiday party), plus a free entry to Rock 'n' Roll Denver in 2010 and Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio 2011 -- basically because I worked the event. But I sign up for the following year's race and the current year's expo -- a great way to save on the registration fees... AND to have something on your race calendar a year out. 

Now of course I'm curious -- who are the other 647 runners? I hope I'll spot at least a few of them on the course!

Spirit of the Marathon 2

Did I cry? Yes. Did I laugh? Yes. Did I cheer? Yes. Was I inspired? Yes.

Was I still slightly underwhelmed? Yeah, unfortunately. 

Maybe I had built it up in my mind too much. I LOVED the first one. And there was a lot to love about this one. The grief-stricken father, the elite runner scarred by her Rwandan childhood, the cute pizzeria owner and his elderly cousin, the independent running/triathlon store owner (rocking her Brooks gear!!!) struggling to keep her business going... And, of course, beautiful Rome. 

Maybe it was the fact that the theatre was less than half full. (Why? More screens? No idea.) Or, yeah, maybe my expectations were too high. 

Still, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I will see #3 if they make one. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon - confessions of a medal whore

Look, I don't only race for the medals. But I do love a medal. I especially love races where I earn more than one medal at a time. (See: Goofy Challenge, Coast to Coast, and even the Pacific Peaks series between Rock 'n' Roll Portland and Rock 'n' Roll Seattle.)

I don't particularly like "women's races" -- I'd hate to feel left out of a "men's race" (right, Katharine Switzer?), so races that essentially discourage men from participating are not super cool with me. And, yes, I'm sorry if you find running with men intimidating. But my running partner is a man, and I'm always happiest running with him.

Enter the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I've never run it, though it has some appeal, given that it's a Disney race that I haven't run. The problem? It's a really long way to go for a half marathon. Besides, if we're going to Florida in the winter, we'd rather run the full... or the Goofy... in January.

But of course... when I hear about a new medal, my ears perk up. For 2014, RunDisney introduced something called the Glass Slipper Challenge: run the Disney Enchanted 10K on the Saturday, then run the Disney Princes Hall Marathon on the Sunday. A mere 19.3 miles, two days, THREE MEDALS?!?!

What's more... well.. there's a new, special version of the Coast to Coast Medal for people who run both Tink and Princess halves:

Oooh. Pink.

And, yes, that would make FIVE MEDALS for running three races. It's a mini-GoofyBell.

But Wil and I realized we may be coming to the end of our current obsession with Disney races. Not that we won't run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon every year -- I can see us still doing that even when we stop running many other races. And one day, maybe we'll find ourselves in Florida in February for a trip for Wil's birthday. And we do LOVE Disney World.

But one day we want to trek to Machu Picchu. I want to summit Kilimanjaro. We'd both like to visit India, Thailand, the Galapagos, Antarctica... the list goes on. And while I plan on continuing to chip away at my 50 States project, I think that means cutting back on trips to Florida. Because, really, this would beat any medal we could ever earn:

image from
Registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened (to the general public) today - and, unsurprisingly, the Glass Slipper Challenge has already sold out. I'm perhaps more surprised that the Princess Half Marathon is only 50% sold out... but I'm guessing that most people who can complete the half are easily able to also complete a 10K the previous day. Also surprising: the Enchanted 10K is only 60% sold out. I seem to recall that the 10K coming up in Disneyland this September sold out super quickly...

Now, registration for the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon doesn't open for a few more weeks... but I will definitely be signing up on the first day. I've got a streak going!

Running to work!!!

So I ran to work today, which has left me feeling like a badass ALL DAY. 

Sure, it was only 4.65 miles, but there is something about combining a necessary journey with exercise that always makes me super happy. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm a winner!

Last month I participated in the first annual Running Bloggers Virtual Race, which raised money for Burma ... and, well, I won a prize!!!
prize pack from the Running Bloggers Virtual Race
my prize pack!
I can't say that I never win anything -- after all, I still think I'm one of the luckiest people I've ever met! -- but it was a real treat to get a package in the mail today with a pretty new Sweaty Band, a Paleo Bar, and a Rise Breakfast Bar. Looks like I've got breakfast all set after my run tomorrow!
Thanks so much to Caroline Thomas of for putting this virtual race together!!!

Guest post: Boston Marathon Solidarity Run 10K Race Report

My pal Suz sent me this awesome race report this morning, and has kindly offered to write this guest post -- I'm so proud of her for digging deep and finishing this race! And, hell, one of the secrets of age group racing is choosing your races wisely! :)
On Saturday I ran the Arlington Runners Club’s Boston Marathon Solidarity Run 10k. I saw it advertised in an email and thought, I lived in Arlington, MA and the full registration fee would go to the One Fund Boston, so why not? An added bonus was that there were only 16 women registered for the 10k and, depending on their ages, I might medal in my age group.
So, Saturday morning I got up, had a slice of toast with peanut butter and a banana, and headed off to Arlington. My new Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13s arrived on Friday, so I had my new shoes to wear! I got the green ones, and they are beautiful. I arrived at the race site at 8am and had an hour to kill, so I sat in the car for a bit, then I went and picked up my t-shirt and bib. Sat in the car some more, drank some water, used the bathroom at the Stillaguamish Athletic Club, which they kindly made available to the runners. Stood out in the chilly morning air, sizing up the competition, “Is she in her 40s? What about her?” I only saw a few ladies that looked to be my age and running the 10k (they also had a 5k). Finally, they gathered us all around, thanked the sponsors, made brief remarks regarding the course, and then had the 10k-ers line up. On your mark, get set, go!

And we were off. I estimated 20-30 doing the 10k as I had a good view of the pack as they pulled away from me, only to be seen one other time as I was rounding a corner to a long straight-away. This wasn’t so bad, though a bit of a wake up call. I realized that this is how it will be in TC. I did feel a bit like Seabiscuit without the explosive speed at the end to come from behind and win. The course is a loop around the Arlington Airport and is mostly on packed gravel or grass. It was a pleasant run. I saw a blue jay. I made the mistake of not carrying any water with me because I didn’t see anyone else doing it. I know, run your own race. There were a couple of water stops, one at 1 ½ miles (the turn-around point for the 5k). The volunteer there thought I was part of the 5k and told me to go around the cone. I told her that no, I’m part of the 10k and had miles to go. I did get passed by the 5 fastest 5k-ers before the water stop. Four of the five looked to be in high school. One nice girl shouted out encouragement to me as she passed me going back.
So, on I went. I only had one moment when I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to turn or not, but soon found that I was heading the right way. As I was approaching the 4 mile mark, I was having a tough time mentally and was happy that I had put my headphones in my race belt, just in case. At 4 miles, there was another water stop and I got to practice taking a cup of water from the volunteer. Nailed it. Of course, then I stop to drink it. During mile 5, through a particularly boring part of the course that was on pavement but past warehouses and hangars, I started to have doubts about TC and the 15k. I wasn’t thinking about my pace, just that I was out there alone, getting tired, feeling like this stupid race would never be over. Why did I think this was a good idea. A dark place, indeed. But on I plodded, taking short walk breaks when I needed, but never very long. I might have done myself some good if I had forced myself to walk for 2 minutes. I rounded a corner and could see some volunteers far in the distance, waiting for me, so that encouraged me to run, if only so that they could be done with their day. They cheered me on as I passed. Finally I saw the finish line, so I dug deep and finished strong. I remembered to turn off my watch after crossing the line.
I thanked the volunteers as they took my bib tag, looked around for some water, didn’t see any so walked over to my car where I had some. As I was drinking and stretching, one of the volunteers shouted out to me “Good job, 10k!” as she was leaving. I will say this, the Arlington Runners Club has some very nice members and they threw a good race. As I was rehydrating, I looked at my watch to see what my time was and was shocked to see 86:45 with an average pace of 13:56! No wonder why I was exhausted! I wasn’t quite ready to get in the car yet, so I wandered over to the finishers board (or whatever they call it) and saw that there were 35 of us in the 10k. I was looking at the other tags and saw only two others in my group. I had medalled! One of the volunteers asked me what my group was and I told her 40-49 and she said I think you get a ribbon and I said, yes, I think I came in third, so I got a third place ribbon! Yes, I came in dead last, 8 minutes behind the runner in front of me (also a lady in her 40s), but I did it. I ran my own race. And suddenly, all those dark thoughts about not trying the 15k in TC went away.
Suz and her 3rd place ribbon
Suz and her 3rd place ribbon!!! Sweet!!!
I still haven’t actually registered for TC. Six miles was hard, and while I still have 3 weeks of training, it kind of feels like, I only have 3 weeks of training. I wonder how I will be able to do another 3 miles. I think a run/walk combo will be the way to go. I think I also need to pay more attention to my pace during the race. I did look at my watch a couple of times and saw it was in the 13s, which should have been a clue that I was doing okay.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Portland race report

It's been quite a while since Rock 'n' Roll Portland, but between the office move, surgery, and reading a bunch of ESP proposals (zzzz), I just haven't gotten around to writing this report... until now!
Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon logo
After a bit of a rough night (some noisy neighbors, who luckily went out pretty early and weren't as loud when they rolled back in at 1:30), we got up at the very resonable hour of 7am, since we were close to the start line and the race didn't start until 8. Having learned my lesson at the Scenic Half Marathon a few years back, I quickly ate a small bagel with cheese so that I would have time to digest it before the start.
We weren't sure how the weather would hold, so I think we both overdressed at the start. At least today I was wearing layers...
Portland before the start of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
partly sunny before the start

Brooks VIP Porta Potty
Brooks VIP Porta Potty
We stopped off at the Brooks VIP Porta Potty to see the girls ... and use the facilities, of course! I still think the VIP Porta Potty is absolutely genius -- being able to use a proper, flushing toilet, wash your hands, and only wait in a very short line, well, it's awesome.
After that, we headed over to the river to have a look around. Being able to start right downtown in the park along the river is fantastic. Lots of happy folks milling about. The morning was brightening up nicely, and we felt good and relaxed.
Our only goal for the race was to finish. I was supposed to be taking things easy still, so there was no need to push it. (Which is my favorite way to run!)
We headed back across the starting area before the race started, making another quick trip to the porta potty, and then standing by the fence to watch the elites start. I had watched the elites start at Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio and it was pretty amazing. There were no paid elites at this race, so the field wasn't as fast, but it is still impressive to watch folks set off really quickly.
pace truck, Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon
I have never seen the pace truck before. And probably never will again!
We were slated to start in corral 15, which was fine with me, but after watching people pretty much just starting wherever they wanted, we decided to jump in with corral 5. And, as usual, we finished with people we started with, so I don't feel too bad about moving up. (Yes, I know, shame on me.)
Team WilSun before Rock 'n' Roll Portland
obligatory pre-race photo
The race started along the pancake--flat roads next to the river. We were running well, and decided to just keep moving rather than run intervals. The course felt a little crowded in some spots, and we seemed to be passing a lot of folks. We hit the turnaround and started making our way back into downtown before crossing the river into north Portland.
I was surprised by how hilly Portland is. I mean, our second half marathon had a pretty epic hill as an out and back... but it didn't occur to me that we would be running up and down hills quite so much. But the course took us through really nice neighborhoods. We ran up Hawthorne, through some super cute residential street, and past some large, handsome homes next to a park. I was pretty much just running along and enjoying the view.
That's one thing I really like about running races -- someone else has figured out a nice route, and for the most part, they try very hard to showcase the pretty, historical, or otherwise interesting parts of their city.
As usual I tried to stay upbeat, thanking the cops and volunteers, high-fiving kids, and smiling at spectators. Not sure where this perkiness comes from -- and sometimes I really don't have it -- but I'm going to work on it for the rest of the year.
Team WilSun at Rock 'n' Roll Portland
Wil crossing back into Portland
Finally we could see the bridge we were going to cross back across the river on -- something of a relief, as I was pretty tired at this point. With less than a mile to go we had to slow to a walk to come down the bridge ramp -- it was just too steep and I felt too clumsy.
I liked that they had set up a pretty long finish chute -- not that it was thronged with spectators, or anything, but it lends a nice feel to the end of the race. As we got within 15 yards of the finish line, I saw John and heard him say, "And here comes Sunny and Wil!", which made both of us instinctively raise our hands and wave at the bewildered crowd, who were clearly expecting to see someone they recognized. I knew he wanted us to stop, but we needed to cross the line first. I heard him saying, "Awww, don't kiss him!" when we had our usual post-race smooch, and then we turned to go back and say hello.
We had another brief -- and slightly odd -- post-race interview, where I tried to remember to say lots of nice things while also feeling a little lightheaded. I'm not even sure what we said, but Wil seems to remember talking about tax-free shopping. Yeah, it's like that at the end of the race, sometimes.
We had finished in right around 2:23 -- surprising, since we really slowed down at the end. But a finish is a finish, and it means that we had completed the first half of the Pacific Peaks series, which will earn us a bonus medal when we finish Rock 'n' Roll Seattle in a few weeks.
Team WilSun at Rock 'n' Roll Portland
and done!
It also means that I picked up half the mileage for Jenny's Peace Marathon toraise money for victimsof the Boston bombings. I knew that I wouldn't have a lot of other miles in May, so it was good to get *some*.

Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon medal
2013 Rock 'n' Roll Portland half marathon medal

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cheshiahud Loop 10K with Suz!

A few weeks ago Suz asked me my opinions on a couple of different local 10Ks. One seemed too far away, while the other was part of a larger multi-sport weekend which also featured a 5K, a kids race, and a couple of triathlon distances. Neither seemed ideal.

I offered to run with her if she'd let me choose the 10K course, and she accepted. So I decided that we should run part of my favorite run: the 6 miles around the Cheshiahud Loop.

Cheshiahud and his wife
Cheshiahud and his wife

This roughly 10K loop around Lake Union is named after Cheshiahud, a local member of the Duwamish tribe who had befriended the early Seattle settlers, notably David Denny. Though the loop doesn't seem to run past the site of Cheshiahud's cabin (that appears to be past the University Bridge), it's still a fine honor for a man who often guided early whites around the lake.

I didn't tell Suz where we were running. She picked me up bright and early, and we drove to Gas Works Park. (Easy parking, and a nice landmark to run back to.) Then I told her we would be running around the lake. Okay, it probably wasn't as exciting for her as it was for me. ;)

We set out in the counter-clockwise direction that Wil prefers, arguing that you only really have one sharp uphill plus the angle of the bridge, but otherwise it's essentially flat or a gentle downhill.

I told Suz that she was setting the pace, and that I was just navigating. As such, I happily just settled in for the ride. We ran to Fremont, climbing the stairs up to the bridge, and then across the bridge and onto the Westlake portion of the trail. Suz kept a nice steady clip and we passed MOHAI while running along the trolley tracks.

We had gone four miles before we took our first walk break -- the farthest Suz had ever run without stopping, which is awesome! The next mile was a bit slow, what with the up and down winding of the loop at that point (I think in future it's worth just going up to Eastlake to the bridge, the way Wil and I used to), but then we started the final mile as we headed up the University Bridge.

The bridge is a long, slow uphill. Not steep, but steady. The path is narrow, so we were running single file, and at one point Suz stopped for a breather. I told her that at the next light pole, I wanted her to run at least 10 steps. She said, "Why not just to the next light pole?" Atta girl! So we continued up the bridge, alternating between running and walking at each light pole. Then when we neared the top of the bridge, Suz ran three in a row. Woot!

We went down the steps at the end of the bridge, then joined up with the Burke-Gilman again. I pointed out that we were now on familiar ground, having run the Fremont 5K there a couple of years back.

When we got close to 6 miles, Suz said we only had a tenth of a mile left. I said, well, no, you asked for a 10K, so we were running a 10K! :)

We wrapped up right across the street from Gas Works, then had a little cool-down walk getting back to the car. Suz was really happy -- farther than she had ever run before! -- and she had done a great job. I think she'll be great in her 15K in Traverse City next month!